Graphic Designer to an MIT Faculty Member: Jacqueline Casey

Unknown, photo of Jacqueline Casey.
Unknown, photo of Jacqueline Casey.

Jacqueline Casey was an American graphic designer who created posters and other materials for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Her works infused American and Swiss elements in her designs, and displayed her exploration of abstraction, negative space, scale, and typography. She is also known for her word plays and visual metaphors. Many times, Casey expressed that her goal was to “stop anyone I can with an arresting or puzzling image, and entice the viewer to read the message in small type and above all to attend the exhibition” (Heller 279).

Casey was born on April 20, 1927 in Quincy, Massachusetts (MIT News). In 1949, she graduated from the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, and received a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, concentrating in fashion design and illustration (Heller 279). Casey worked in fashion, advertising, and interior decorating before getting a job at MIT’s Office of Publications. In 1955, she was hired by Muriel Cooper (1925-1994), who was a design director and also an alumnus to the Massachusetts College of Art. Cooper had asked her to create promotions for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Summer Sessions) (Sherin). Alongside Cooper, Swiss designer Theresa Moll also worked with Casey and taught her the principles of design. As well, Moll introduced elements of Swiss design and became an influence to Casey (Sherin). Other Swiss designers that inspired Casey’s works were Karl Gerstner and Armin Hofmann (Eye Magazine).

Jacqueline Casey continued to produce posters and catalogs to promote MIT’s events, programs, lectures, and art exhibitions. In 1972, Casey took Cooper’s position as director of the Office of Publications after Cooper left to join the MIT faculty (Eye Magazine). Casey was one of the few leading women in the field, which were mostly of male colleagues. Not only was she outstanding as a female in a male-dominated world, she was anointed as a faculty member responsible for graphic design, in which MIT was one of the first American colleges to hire graphic designers as an instructing staff member (Heller 279).

Jacqueline Casey, “Russia, USA Peace”, 1985. Poster.
Fig 1. Jacqueline Casey, “Russia, USA Peace”, 1985. Poster. 

(Fig 1.) Casey distinguishes ‘USA’ in the word ‘RUSSIA” by using the colours red and white. In addition, there is an image of Earth in the background and the poster overall suggests the peace that the two countries strived for.

Jacqueline Casey worked for more than 30 years at MIT until she passed away on May 18, 1992 after a long battle with cancer. Her works are still showcased and some of her pieces are a part of permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Library of Congress in Washington (Sherin). Casey would be a useful contribution to Graphic Design: A New History as she was “an accelerator of change” (Heller 279) for both MIT and designers around the world. Through her works, Casey represented the experimental and future orientated aspect of MIT and popularized the Swiss elements and International type throughout the nation.

 

Works Cited:

“Designer Jacqueline Casey Dies at 65.” MIT News, 20 May 1992, https://news.mit.edu/1992/casey-0520.

Heller, Steven, and Greg D’Onofrio. The Moderns : Midcentury American Graphic Design, Abrams, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/oculocad-ebooks/detail.action?docID=5060765.

Sherin, Aaris. “Casey, Jacqueline.” Grove Art Online.  October 20, 2006. Oxford University Press. https://www-oxfordartonline-com.ocadu.idm.oclc.org/groveart/view/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.001.0001/oao-9781884446054-e-7002021558

“Woman at the Edge of Technology.” Eye Magazine, 2008, www.eyemagazine.com/feature/article/woman-at-the-edge-of-technology

American Beauty/American Psycho Album ‘Cover’ Review – Catherine Park

Fall Out Boy, photo by Jonathan Weiner, 2019.
Fall Out Boy, photo by Jonathan Weiner, 2019.

Fall Out Boy is an American rock band formed in Illinois, U.S. in 2001. There are four members: vocalist and guitarist Patrick Stump, bassist and lyricist Pete Wentz, drummer Andrew Hurley, and guitarist Joe Trohman (Loftus). American Beauty/American Psycho (AB/AP) is Fall Out Boy’s sixth album which was released in January 2015. Some of the songs included are “Centuries”, “Irresistible”, and “Uma Thurman”, and the overall album is of pop punk and pop rock genre (Loftus).

American Beauty/American Psycho, photo by Pamela Littky, 2014.
American Beauty/American Psycho, photo by Pamela Littky, 2014.

The American Beauty/American Psycho album cover features a young a boy in a blue tank shirt with half of his face covered in stripes of black paint with negative shapes of stars on his forehead – the American flag. He looks towards the viewers, with only his chest and angry face being shown. The background includes a white house with trees on either side of the house. The boy in the cover is model Jake Karlen, who was in eighth grade at the time (Kaufman). In an interview with MTV, he mentioned that the shoot was in Los Angeles at a house, and the shoot took 4-5 hours (Kaufman). The concept of the face paint was created by the band, and then executed by a makeup artist who had worked for “The Walking Dead” TV show (Kaufman). When shooting the image, the band had given direction to Karlen to look angry, and thus reflecting the mood of the album. The images, and the final image for the album cover, was shot by Pamela Littky.

Pamela Littky has worked with Fall Out Boy since their shoot for From Under the Cork Tree, which was the band’s second album released in 2005 (AltPress). At this point in time, Littky was still in the early phase of her career. She got to work with them over the years, evolving in terms of shoots but they also became comfortable with each other. Littky enjoys working with them, particularly with Pete. She says, “His creativity and knowledge of art, design and pop culture is incredibly vast, and coming with concepts with him is so much fun” (AltPress). As well, she had stated that one of her favourite photoshoots was the American Beauty/American Psycho cover photo (AltPress).

In terms of the meaning of the album artwork, the band posted a statement on Facebook with their explanation (Menyes). The post read: “this photo was meant to capture the threshold between the american beauty and the american psycho… what rages on the inside- how we what we all feel is permanent and impermanent all at once. activate yourself, protect your dreaminess. or break it- ‘because without the cracks the light couldn’t get out.’” (Menyes). Furthermore, it reflects the lyrics of the songs, mostly written by Pete Wentz. When compared to their previous album Save Rock ‘N Roll, Fall Out Boy said their lyrics had a more general meaning (Posner). In contrast, the AB/AP album expressed Wentz and the other band member’s personal lives, their struggles and triumphs, and the cruel reality of life (Posner).

 

Bibliography:

AltPress. “Photographer Pamela Littky Reflects on Shooting Fall Out Boy’s ‘Infinity On High’ Album Art.” Alternative Press, Alternative Press, Inc., 6 Feb. 2017, www.altpress.com/features/photographer_pamela_littky_reflects_on_shooting_fall_out_boys_infinity_on_h/.

Kaufman, Gil. “We Talked To The Kid On The Cover Of Fall Out Boy’s Album, And He’s The Coolest Eighth Grader Ever.” MTV News, Viacom International Inc., 22 Jan. 2015, www.mtv.com/news/2055608/facepaint-fall-out-boy-cover-model/.

Loftus, Johnny. “Fall Out Boy: Biography & History.” AllMusic, RhythmOne, www.allmusic.com/artist/fall-out-boy-mn0000170879/biography.

Menyes, Carolyn. “Fall Out Boy ‘American Beauty/American Psycho’ Tracklist, Album Cover Revealed Alongside New Song ‘The Kids Aren’t Alright.’” Music Times, Music Times, 15 Dec. 2014, www.musictimes.com/articles/20140/20141215/fall-out-boy-american-beauty-american-psycho-tracklist-album-cover-the-kids-arent-alright.htm.

Posner, Briana. “‘American Beauty/American Psycho’ Is ‘Irresistible.’” THE MUSE, The Muse at Dreyfoos, 20 Jan. 2015, www.themuseatdreyfoos.com/entertainment/2015/01/20/american-beautyamerican-psycho-is-irresistible/.